Movie Reviews

Why Wonder Woman Made Me Cry

wonder-woman-movie-2017-gal-gadot-images I have never cried in a superhero movie before.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a total cryer in movies: indie, family dramas, romances, etc. But not action, not movies like this. And yet, last night, about halfway through the movie, Diana (Gal Gadot) is putting on her crown and embracing her destiny, and I am totally tearing up. She was about to kick ass and save a lot of people, but that's not why.

I'm sitting there crying because in about the first 20 to 30 minutes of the film, there's a fight sequence where the whole battleground is filled with WOMEN. Like Lord of the Rings-style epic battle. Except every one of the "good guys" is NOT. A. GUY. (Apart from cutie pie Chris Pine, of course.)

screen-shot-2016-03-24-at-11-46-58-am

I'm crying because the movie passed the Bechdel test in about the first five seconds.

Because I didn't realize until I saw hundreds of women kicking ass on a beach that I had never seen anything like that before. And how much that informs my feelings about myself and womanhood and my own power.

I was crying because on the way into the theater, I saw two girls around five and eight in Wonder Woman outfits running around and kicking and yelling and starring in battles in their own heads. Or because I saw little boys realizing that girls can kick ass, too.

And mostly, I was crying because I couldn't help but wonder if we lived in a world where one of the most compelling superheroes of all time didn't take this freaking long to get her own franchise (while we explore male characters pretty much to death), would we be more comfortable with seeing women in positions of power?

Would we be less obsessed about emails?

We're in a geopolitical place right now where the worst elements of patriarchal masculinity--ego, pissing contests, thirst for power and wealth for power's sake--are actually informing our domestic and foreign policies. Of course, Diana and the Amazons, who were created to spread peace and not war, an antithesis to that energy, are the heroes we need.

Wonder Woman is a great movie. It's one of the best origin stories I've ever seen. It's funny. It's heartfelt. It embraces femininity and female power without making light of it. It delves into sexuality without making Diana an object. It shows that a love of peace can be a badass, POWERFUL stance.

Go see it. Show the Hollywood bigwigs who have likely been saying for years, "but will enough people see an action movie if it's only got a woman?" how very wrong they are.

Show the industry that we need more Patty Jenkins's, because we already have tons of Michael Bays.

Vote with your wallet, and hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more movies like Wonder Woman and Hidden Figures.

Or go see it just because it's a damn good movie.

 

Weekend Movies: Moonlight and 13th

movie-review-moonlight-13th I don't normally do movie reviews on here (though perhaps I should start given that I love movies more than just about anything else) but after seeing two movies in the last twenty-four hours, combined with everything that's going on in the national election, I felt I had to start.

Where to begin? Set and filmed in Miami, Moonlight follows the life of Little/Chiron/Black as he grows up through the crack era of the 80s/90s and into adulthood. With standout performances by the whole cast, including my favorite from Luke Cage, Mahershala Ali, as well as Janelle Monae, it's no surprise it's already getting Oscar buzz. Moonlight beautifully and powerfully explores themes of addiction, loneliness, machismo, homophobia, bullying, mass incarceration and the black experience without being remotely heavy-handed or melodramatic. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just leave you with the trailer. It really is a must-see:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NJj12tJzqc]

I followed up Moonlight with 13th, a fairly new Netflix documentary about the 13th amendment and specifically its phrasing that allows slavery in the case of someone who has committed a crime:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

13th isn't cinematic or beautiful (though it is haunting). It's mainly professors, politicians, civil rights activists and even someone from ALEC giving interviews about mass incarceration and racial politics from the "end" of slavery to today. It implicates Republicans and Democrats in almost equal measure, and it's depressing as hell. It also has so many important facts held within that I want to watch it over and over and unpack every one. It's a wonderful complement to Moonlight in that it explores many of the same issues but from a policy and historical point of view rather than a dramatic one. I feel like I learned more from this film than I did from any U.S. History class in high school or college. Here's the trailer.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V66F3WU2CKk]

Have you seen either of these films? If so, what did you think?